Thursday, September 25, 2008

High School Football Weekend-Week 5


This past Friday night was kind of different. Because of Hurricane Ike last week the weather in Ohio wasn't that great. Several thousands of homes were without power and so were schools.

By the time Friday came around most of the schools had power restored. However as far as our game was concerned, the host school was still affected. So the host school ended up being the visiting school since the game got moved from the home school to the visiting schools field. Confused yet?

So we all get to the locker room as usual and have our pregame. Then we hit the field. We have a pretty competitive game in the first half and of course we had to focus, but maybe a little more so with some option being run. For those of you that don't understand why, sometimes these Qbs hide the ball so well that you have to make sure you see leather before you blow that whistle. One minute you think the half/fullback has the ball and then next thing you know the Qb is running up the field with ball. Don't want any inadvertent whistles.

At halftime I had to use the bathroom amongst the fans from both teams. Fans from both sides are telling me good job and good calls on specific ones that I made. Don't hear that every day. The new home team takes control of the game in the second half and pull out the victory.

We head to the locker, shower, and go out to eat at a place we haven't been before. Then it's off to home and already thinking about our next game which is the next day.


On this day we have a Saturday night game between two of the top teams in the state. Joining us for our pregame in the locker room we have a guest fellow referee that we respect and will honestly share his feedback on our performance.

Time to hit the field and speak to the coaches. A few minutes later we get the captains for the coin toss, then check the game balls, and speak with the ball boys.

Let me tell you, the atmosphere was electric. Great weather and night for high school football. Tons of fans and they are abnormally loud. So loud for the opening kickoff that I needed to cover my ears.

This is one of those games that you have to be in shape to officiate. These guys did not give us a break. Both teams running no huddle offenses and one of them literally ready to snap as soon as the whistle is blown ready for play. The score was 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.

I had two flags in the game and a couple of other tough calls.

The first tough call came when the home team completed a pass to an open receiver for about a 10 yard pass with a lot of room on the sideline to run. He takes off running up the edge, avoids a couple of tacklers and just steps on the out of bounds line right in front of his team's bench. Then the fans start to boo. Comes with the territory.

Other tough call was when the visitors had the ball and the Qb throws a long pass on my sideline. I had to stay somewhat short and watch the action with another receiver. Then the ball is up in the air. Our Back Judge cheats over a little bit and helps on the play. Looking at the ball at how it was traveling, I thought for certain it was headed out of bounds and no way it would be caught in bounds. I take off to head up field and watch the defender as he reaches out and catches the football and gets down not one, but two feet. I look at the Back Judge and we both have an interception. This is why you have to be focused and ready for anything. As a wingman we have the sideline all the way to the goal line.

These two teams were up and down the field all night. As stated above the score was 17-14 at the end of the first quarter with the home team leading. By the end of the first half the visitors tied it up 24-24.

Halftime we go over a few things as a crew and discuss any questions or comments the coaches may have expressed to us.

Second half more of the same. These teams are up and down the field and executing the no huddle offenses effectively. So many big plays in this game so we were doing a lot of running. Fun game to officiate. Home team ended up winning 52-31 but the game was closer than the final score showed.

We hit the locker room, cool down, and discuss the game. Our guest ref contributes and provides some good feedback and we are appreciative. Time to go out to eat but I can't join the guys this night. Don't want to be in the doghouse with the Mrs.

Back at it again next Friday and back to doing college ball on Saturday.

Back to back nights of well played football. It was a privilege to be a part of and to officiate!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Saturdays-Week 2

Back in the saddle again as I got to ref with my usual crew in a dandy of a football game.

I met up with a few of the guys on the crew not to far from my house a little after 7am. Then we headed about an hour and a half up the road to meet the rest of the guys for some breakfast.

Next we head to the home school as they are about to take on a D3 Nationally ranked Top 10 team. We arrive a little before 10:30am and immediately jump into our pregame.

We start off by watching some situations on dvd and then talk about the new play clock rules (40/25).
We follow this up by going over new rules for this season and a refresher on new rules for 2007. Next we talk about kickoffs and punts. Next we talk about mechanics and positioning on a fake field goal. After this our white hat and umpire head out to go speak with the coaches. We continue to talk about keys and responsibilities on regular scrimmage plays.

Now that we finished we continue to finish getting dressed. At this point our Observer for the game comes in and speaks with us for a little bit. Very nice guy but will give us honest critiquing and feedback which we really appreciate because it is only going to make us better and make it better for everyone. No matter how long you do this you should be able to receive feedback and should want it. Especially when it comes from people that have been there and know what they're talking about.

Time for me and the Side Judge to head to the field. The Head Linesman and Line Judge are already out there. The LJ and myself talk to the ball boys for the home team in detail about their responsibilities and what we expect out of them. Having ball boys that are paying attention and doing their job correctly are very important. They help us keep a nice flow of the game.

There is about 20 minutes to go before kickoff and the teams have headed back into the locker room so we follow suit. 6 minutes before kickoff I gather up the home team captains and we head back to the field for the coin toss. 3 minutes before kickoff and the coin toss is going down! Woohoo! Now 1 minute before kickoff and the 3rd team is in the middle of the field ready to break it out. Let's do this!

As mentioned early the visitors are a Top 10 nationally ranked team but the home team came to play. This game was up and down, up and down. A lot of points scored. A hook an ladder and three stop and go's for touchdowns were some of the highlights.

One thing I like about our crew is that we all get a long, like to work together, and we like to stay away from phantom calls. I'm sure most crews are probably the same way. In this game the teams played hard but had the most penalties in any game we've had so far. Almost 30. It is early in the season and I'm sure the teams will iron this out. I had 2 flags in the game and they were pretty blatant and easy calls to make.

The play of the game was when the score was tied and hardly any time left on the clock in the second quarter and a great defensive play on a long pass right in front of the goal line but the receiver hangs with it and dives into the endzone to make the catch. That put the visitors up by 7. In the second half the visitors started to pull away but the home team made a late surge to make it interesting. In the end a 14 point victory by the visitors.

It was so hot during this game that it was amazing. I don't think any of us were ever as drained after a game as we were for this one. We later found out it got up to 93 degrees. That is hot anytime but in mid-September that is no joke.

Into the locker room we go and they have lunches waiting for us and we were very appreciative. We pack up and back home we go. The next game will be all the guys without me as I will join them in week 4.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friday Night Rivalry-Week 4

We had a barn burner this past Friday. The two teams were neighborhood rivals and it came down to the very end.

After having our pregame our crew hit the field. The field had some conditions that needed to be looked at so we had to speak with the Athletic Director. The AD looked into fixing the problems the best that he could so kudos to him.

Next thing you know the game is underway.

There were some turnovers and a little bit more penalties in this game compared to our games earlier in the season. The sidelines were behaved for the most part.

The visiting team had a kid that every time he touched the ball he was about headed for the endzone. Whether it was by rush, reception, or return. The first time he received a kickoff he about took it to the house. After the second time the ball was kicked off to him I overhear the head coach say to the kicker, "Don't kick it to him anymore. Kick it away from him." This was all in the first half. After a score in the second half the home team lines up to kickoff and the kicker kicks it to this kid again and he returns it up past the fifty yard line and almost took it to the house again. I turned around, looked at the coach and said "I thought you told him not to kick it to him." Coach shakes his head and replies, "I did tell him not to." We share a chuckle. Of course coach and the kicker had a heart to heart conversation when he arrived to the sideline.

Now it's in the fourth quarter and the home team is up by a touchdown. Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick. About a minute to go and the visitors have the ball inside the opponent's 20 yard line. 4th down and about 8. Time out. We being the third team meet in the middle of the field real quick and our White hat says, "Guys this is possibly the game. Be sharp. This is it." We all concur and move back into position.
Clean snap and the quarterback tries to roll somewhat to his right and is sacked immediately. Ball game.

Fun game to be a part of. Great sportsmanship and players just playing hard.

Our crew heads for the locker room and talk quickly about the game and then head over to our Umpire's house to eat. Man did his wife make a mean lasagna. We haven't ate that good after any game in all our years. Awesome! While eating we're channel flipping between the NCAA South Florida vs Kansas game and Friday night high school football highlights. We didn't realize it but the news was at our game. Next thing you know I see myself twice. Not that it's important to be on the news, but see it isn't a thankless job. Lol! It's all good. Nothing like Friday night being on the field amongst all the action.

Had to get up super early the next day for college football. The following week we have to high school games so I'm off a week from college ball. One on Friday and one on Saturday. Saturday's match-up is a doozy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Saturdays-Week 1

Started my officiating college football this past Saturday. I referee Division III NCAA football and it was a night game at 7pm. Typically the games are at 1pm and we referee with the same crew.

I was actually a guess this week on a crew since my normal crew doesn't start until this Saturday. The guys I had the pleasure officiating with were all great and cool guys. As I stated above the games typically start at 1pm and pregame would be 10:30am.

I met the guys at a local restaurant at around 3:30pm. We ate and chatted for a little bit. Then we all headed over the stadium. We got to the locker room at 4:30pm sharp.

First thing we did was have our pregame and it was a good one. We talked about the new rules especially the timing rules. Then since I was a sub we made sure we were on the same page as far as our keys to watch for on scrimmage plays and kick plays as well as positioning.

My position is the Field Judge so I especially had to communicate with the Line Judge, Back Judge, and Side Judge.
We talked a lot about positioning on kickoffs and punts. Then we conversed about responsiblities and mechanics to use on fake or botched field goals and extra points. As the Field Judge I'm always under the upright opposite the Back Judge. If the field goal or xp is botched or faked and it's inside the 15-20 yard line I will try to slide out towards the sideline but keep an eye on the play as it develops. If it's outside this 15-20 I slide up to the goal line.

Forty-five minutes before kickoff I walk out onto the field with the Side Judge and we both have the game balls. We talk to the ball boys on our respective sidelines and check the field out. Both the home and visiting teams head back into the locker room about 20 minutes before kickoff.

Six minutes before kickoff I gather up the captains from the home team and we walk down to the field for the coin toss that happens three minutes before kickoff. Coin toss over, all the referees to the center of the field and we break out 1 minute on the clock.

7pm sharp is kickoff and away we go. Pretty competitive game and the fans are really into it. For the most part a pretty clean game. I have one flag in the game for holding on the WR split out wide.

It was a close game for the most part but the home team pulled it out by 12. Nothing else out of the ordinary.

It was fun to get back out there and get the season started. Game over around 9:30pm. Once again the crew I was substituting with were great. I have another game with them later in the year.

So I'm back at it again this Saturday with my regular crew.

Gotta love Saturdays!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Friday Night High School Football-Week 3

Friday night's game was not a close game. The road team was in control from the opening kickoff running it back for a touchdown.
The home school coaches were very well behaved despite the outcome of the game.

One thing though. There was a trick play that was executed perfectly.

Two halfbacks lined up real tight next to the Qb. One on each side not even a half yard away from him. The Qb took the snap and turned around and kept his back to the defense. The two halfbacks turned around as well. The Qb then slid the ball to the halfback on his right. Everyone but the halfback with the ball took off one way, and the halfback with the ball took off the other way. The defense followed the ten players and the halfback ran down the left side for about a 45 yard touchdown untouched. Very well executed.

Once again a pretty clean game played and nothing else out of the ordinary.

Have a neighborhood rival game next Friday night.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Friday Night Football-Week 3

Another week in the books. Before I talk about that, let me say a few things.

I'm in my fifth year of officiating Varsity football and seventh year officiating Ohio sanctioned football. I'm on the sideline as a Line Judge. The coaches and I have a blast together. Really! People think the refs don't get along with the coaches, but for the most part we ge along great.

Had a high school and college game this past weekend. Will try and update tomorrow or Thursday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Officiating-The Third Team

They say it's a thankless job, but I'm not sure if I agree with that.

Just started officiating my season for high school football for the 2008 season in the state of Ohio. Start my college football season next Saturday. Thought I would share things from an officials perspective and talk about the season as it goes a long.

This past Friday's game was a dominant performance defensively by the host school with nothing out the ordinary happening.

For those who may read this that aren't officials or those who want to move up to officiating Friday nights, here is a rundown on how Friday football goes for our crew.

Kickoff is at 7:30pm. We like to arrive at the school and be in the locker room by 6:00pm. I say we as in our crew. We do arrive separately but it is the same five guys on the crew for most of the year. When we first arrive there is some personal talk amongst us and then we start to talk about the game at hand, new rules, rules in general, and any unique situations that maybe our co-referees might have had in one of their games that they may have shared with us. Usually start getting dressed near the end of this conversation.
At 7pm we it the field and meet the coaches. Talk with each head coach separately for a few minutes and then we take the captains at midfield for the coin toss at 7:10p. Kickoff is at 7:30pm sharp.
We had a pretty clean game played this past Friday night with some serious hard hits. Game was over about 10p. Once the game is over we are off the field and back in the locker room. As stated pretty clean game played by both teams so we briefly talk about the game as we get cleaned up and head over to a restaurant to eat. We watch the highlights of the local high school football games while eating. Week 2 of the season in the books!